GSI’s experience in urban policy indicates that there is lack of linkage between urban planning and governance in many urban Centre’s in Uganda and other countries in Africa. This has been partly due to the fact that in many African countries, the physical planning function/activities are managed by the central government departments and the urban managers on the other hand are responsible for managing the affairs of the urban councils.
Urban planning is a dynamic activity that works to improve the welfare of people and their communities by creating more convenient, equitable, healthful, efficient and attractive places for present and future generations (American Planning Association, 2006). Urban governance on the other hand is the sum of the many ways individuals and institutions, public and private, plan and manage the common affairs of the city (UN-Habitat, Campaign, 2003). In this regard, urban local bodies are now expected to plan and coordinate and oft times manage a plethora of urban facilities and activities.
They include urban environment, urban transport, anti-poverty measures; facilitate urban economy and productivity and human settlement development. Given the importance of urban councils as centers of economic, social and political development, the success of most African countries to achieve sustainable economic growth and achieve middle-income status is often closely tied to the success of their urban areas. GSI therefore designs and implements interventions that strengthen the capacity of urban political leaders to make strategic choices and carry out their representational and oversight functions effectively.
GSI design interventions that strengthen urban councils in conducting council business as well as strengthening council committees to function effectively. GSI also designs interventions that help to analyze and come up with policy solutions to reverse the trends facing urban Centres in African countries. GSI also provides consultancy services for reviewing and updating urban physical development plans/structures.